How can I find a good tailor besides trial and error?
July 20, 2004 3:57 PM   Subscribe

ClothingFilter: I need to find a tailor to make some alterations to an expensive sportcoat. The retailer I bought it from only does alterations to new items, and their tailor works for them... I've always had good experiences with that tailor, but the other things I've gotten done (through the place that dry cleans my clothes) really sucked. How can I find a good tailor besides trial and error?

Also, does anyone know what the standard turnaround for getting some shirts laundered is? I just started having to wear all this professional stuff regularly, and while I know how to dress and how to select clothes, I'm finding I'm really clueless on the maintenance part. The cleaner in my neighbourhood wants 3 days to wash, starch, and press shirts...

Any other dry cleaning tips would be appreciated. I already know little things like not to leave the plastic tabs in your shirt collar when you send them out to get them cleaned... but like I said, other than that, I'm clueless.
posted by SpecialK to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (9 answers total)
You could try going into the shop and asking if their tailor takes on commissions in her/his spare time.
posted by carter at 4:10 PM on July 20, 2004

Response by poster: Carter -- Already tried that, he doesn't, or I would've used that option..
posted by SpecialK at 4:15 PM on July 20, 2004

1) Regarding the tailor, look in the Yellow Pages for anyone who's a tailor and nothing but a tailor. Odds are, if they're still in business in today's world, they're both skilled and dedicated. I've done that in several new locations, and it's worked out quite well so far.

2) Three days is definitely longer than you should have to wait for clean shirts--most decent cleaners will turn shirts around in a day or two. (I used to get mine back on hangers, but I've come to prefer boxes. You don't have all that plastic stuff and extra hangers to deal with, and when you want to travel without a garment bag, your shirts are ready to pop into your suitcase.)

3) On a more personal note, I always get my oxford shirts with "heavy" starch. Not only do they stay crisper over the course of the day, but you get that awesome little "pop" between your shoulder blades when the little double crease in the yoke gets unstuck.
posted by LairBob at 4:15 PM on July 20, 2004

Mario's downtown is a good one. 503-227-3477. They will alter other clothes than their own (I double checked for you).

Also, Five Star (Broadway) is a great dry cleaners, they usually turn my stuff around in 2 days.
posted by karmaville at 4:18 PM on July 20, 2004

At least you found a good cleaners. I could explain the hell of finding a good cleaners, but it's not part of your question.

I also was looking for a good tailor recently. What I did was ask around, some do better shirts and some do better pants. As stated above all will be good if they just do tailoring. The only way you can find out is to ask around (what I did) or just try them out.

Out of curiosity: what kind of sportcoat was it?
posted by geoff. at 4:27 PM on July 20, 2004

Response by poster: Oh, geoff., I do love a good story... and yeah, I've found a decent cleaners. They still take 3 business days to turn things around, and since I'll be gone by the time they could get me something I drop off tomorrow, I'll be experimenting with another cleaners. I have found two sucky ones before I found that decent-but-slow one.
posted by SpecialK at 8:05 PM on July 20, 2004

You don't need a cleanners to do shirts. Cleanners are for wools and such things as need dry cleanning. Look for a shirt laundry. Much cheaper, although it will likely take longer. When I lived in Brooklyn, I had a Chineese laundry doing my shirts. It took a week, and was cheap!
posted by Goofyy at 11:31 PM on July 20, 2004

Goofyy makes an important point--you want to make sure your shirts aren't actually getting "dry cleaned" (if there's any question of that).

Most "Dry Cleaners" also handle regular laundry all the time and will assume that you want your shirts laundered, but you do run into the occasional dry cleaner who doesn't do laundry, but will gladly take your shirts and charge you an outrageous amount to dry clean them.
posted by LairBob at 8:21 AM on July 21, 2004

Response by poster: Oh, yeah, they launder the shirts, not dry clean them. I'm just in the habit of calling them "the cleaner's"...

I wish I could find a decent east-coast or SFO style chinese laundry here. We have a couple of chains that have decent pricing (~$1.90/shirt) and a bunch of independent places that enjoy poking your eyes out, and I don't want to drive too far out of my way... there was a good one that my dad used in my old hometown, but that's almost thirty minutes out of my way.

Karmaville, thanks, I'll try Mario's out today when I'm on my lunch break...!
posted by SpecialK at 8:36 AM on July 21, 2004

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